Pelvic Trouble: Older Women And A Difficult Battle

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By Michael Wald

seniors2Women who are going through the changes that come with menopause can face some challenging symptoms, including hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, depression, fatigue and sleeplessness, among many others. Adding to that challenge for many, is the fact that pelvic organ prolapse (POP) often occurs with menopause. In 2010, 75,000 women had transvaginal mesh procedures to repair POP. Unfortunately, for as many as one of every 10 of these women, these surgeries resulted in serious complications, causing symptoms more painful and debilitating than the ones they were meant to correct.

Menopause and Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse happens when the pelvic floor isn’t strong enough to support the organs in the pelvic region effectively, allowing them to slip away from their normal position. The pelvic floor damage that causes POP often begins with changes that occur during pregnancy and childbirth, with other factors that stress the pelvic floor contributing over a woman’s lifetime, such as obesity, heavy lifting, and chronic coughing or constipation. Although POP can appear at any age, for most women symptoms appear after the age of 50, when the estrogen loss that comes with menopause causes pelvic floor tissues to lose elasticity, further weakening pelvic support and allowing organs to prolapse.

Transvaginal Mesh Surgeries

About 11 percent of women with pelvic organ prolapse will need reconstructive surgery to address severe symptoms of the disorder. Over the last decade, a large portion of these surgeries have included the use of transvaginal mesh implants to reinforce weakened pelvic tissues, devices that have proven problematic for many women.

Since these devices were approved through the Food and Drug Administration’s 510(k) fast track program, clinical evidence of safety and effectiveness was not required prior to approval. However, as use of these devices grew, a rising number of adverse events reported to the FDA began to raise concern, prompting safety warnings and regulatory action by the FDA. Several transvaginal mesh products have been recalled by manufacturers due to high rates of serious complications, including products made by Boston Scientific Corp., Mentor Worldwide and Johnson & Johnson, and thousands of lawsuits have been filed by women injured by these devices.

familywalkAmong the most frequently reported complications is mesh erosion, where sharp mesh edges wear through vaginal and pelvic tissues, which can result in organ perforation, are pain, bleeding, infection, urinary problems and sexual dysfunction. Mesh shrinkage is also common, and can cause intense pelvic and vaginal pain, vaginal scarring and shortening, and sexual dysfunction. Revision surgeries, often several procedures, have been necessary to resolve symptoms in many women and they are not always effective.

While there are many additional risks with transvaginal mesh procedures as compared to non-mesh surgeries, the benefits are few. Many mesh products have been pulled off the market in a recent transvaginal mesh recall. According to the FDA, mesh procedures have not proven to be more effective than traditional POP repair. The FDA has ordered further research to be done on these products due to the controversy, a move that comes too late to help many women who are struggling with mesh-related symptoms far more devastating than the prolapse problems the surgery was supposed to relieve.


FDA Safety Communication: UPDATE on Serious Complications Associated with Transvaginal Placement of Surgical Mesh for Pelvic Organ Prolapse:

FDA: Surgical placement of mesh to repair pelvic organ prolapse poses risks:

Harvard Medical School:What to do about pelvic organ prolapse:

OBG Management: Are new tools for correcting prolapse and incontinence better just because they’re new?:

– Dr. Michael Wald, aka The Blood Detective, is the director of nutritional services at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, located in Westchester New York. He has appeared on ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, Channel 11 PIX, Channel 12 News, CNN, The Food Network and other media outlets. Dr. Wald earned the name Blood Detective for his reputation to find problems that are often missed by other doctors. He earned an MD degree, is a doctor of chiropractic and a certified dietician-nutritionist. He is also double-board certified in nutrition. He has published over a dozen books with three additional titles due for release late 2013 including: Frankenfoods – Genetically Modified Foods: Controversies, Lies & Your Health and Gluten-A-Holic: How to Live Gluten Free and the Blood Detective’s Longevity Secrets. Dr. Wald can be reached at: or or by calling: 914-242-8844.

Parents Are The Key In The Battle Against Childhood Obesity

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obeseboyvectorbellyFrom Your Health Journal…..”I had to promote an article I recently found on the Toronto Star web site written by Patrick Luciani entitled Parents Are The Key In The Battle Against Childhood Obesity. It is a very important article for you (as a parent) to read, so please visit the Toronto Star web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. We have read here on many accounts how the government may be trying to regulate soft drinks and implement what they call a ‘fat tax’ on various items. A recent report suggests that that obesity costs society billions of dollars in rising health costs, and will only get worse if we do nothing. There is something truly upsetting seeing children who are obviously overweight and struggling with a range of health problems. So, if the government intervenes, they feel they may be able to reduce obesity, thus reduce health care costs in the future. But, the article in the Toronto Star suggest that parents be held accountable for their children’s weight, and this can make the difference needed to reduce health care, and most importantly, produce healthier children. I encourage you all to visit the Star’s web site to read this well written and informative article.”

From the article…..

Government regulations are no substitute for effective parenting.

What are we to make of a recent report entitled No Time To Wait prepared by the Ontario’s Healthy Kids Panel released last week? It has nice pictures of happy healthy kids along with the appropriate number of visible minority adults smiling and cooking with their kids. As with all these reports about health, it makes endless recommendations for government to solve rising childhood obesity numbers.

The report argues that obesity costs society billions of dollars in rising health costs, and will only get worse if we do nothing. There is something truly upsetting seeing children who are obviously overweight and struggling with a range of health problems. And because of this need the report lists about 35 recommendations for government action, from more prenatal care and breastfeeding, to banning low-nutrient foods and sugary drinks to children under 12.

It also wants the Ontario government to provide incentives (read more money) to food growers to “support community-based food distribution programs” and all restaurants to list calories on all menu items — a program that didn’t work in New York City, and won’t work here in reducing obesity levels. And of course it calls for more spending, about $80 million annually to reduce childhood obesity levels.

To its credit, the report doesn’t recommend new taxes on selected food products and sugary drinks probably because the committee couldn’t agree on which foods to tax and whether those taxes would do much good.

On this point, most economists are in agreement. A wise decision, especially in light of Denmark’s disastrous experiment with a similar fat tax as consumers found endless ways to avoid it. After only 18 months, the Danes chucked the whole mess. But there are other problems with the report.

The charts in the report make it clear that childhood obesity rates have been rising for the past few decades, but the study doesn’t break down the data by income levels, ethnicity, education or whether there is a higher level of obesity among children from single parent families.

To read the full article…..Click here

Mexico Continues To Battle Serious Diabetes, Obesity Epidemic

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beachballFrom Your Health Journal…..A very interesting article recently in Voxxi written by Hope Gillette entitled Mexico Continues To Battle Serious Diabetes, Obesity Epidemic. So many article recently report how the United States in the obese empire of the world, how so many American eat too much, exercise too little. Frankly, I know there is some truth to this, but nonetheless, I am getting tired of reading about it. My thoughts, it is not just the US with this problem, but many countries. Over the last couple days, we have discussed how the UK and Canada are experiencing similar concerns. Now, this article points to Mexico as having similar concerns. Obesity is a worldwide epidemic, not just the US. In Mexico, diabetes is the number one killer, the chronic health condition a direct result of the obesity issue the country also struggles with. In fact, approximately two-thirds of the total nation’s population are classified as overweight or obese, with most of the issue stemming from lifestyle and eating habits. Please visit the Voxxi web site (link provided below) to view the complete article. I did enjoy it and found it very informative.”

From the article…..

Diabetes is the number one killer in Mexico, the chronic health condition a direct result of the obesity issue the country also struggles with.

In fact, approximately two-thirds of the total nation’s population are classified as overweight or obese, reports Mexican news syndicate Aljazeera, with most of the issue stemming from lifestyle and eating habits.

The obesity epidemic in Mexico has been ongoing for almost a decade; in 2007, the nation’s health secretary, Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos, estimated the incidence of diabetes would rise by approximately 40 percent by 2012, killing as many as 100,000 Mexicans annually. His numbers were not far off, with diabetes claiming the lives of approximately 70,000 Mexicans a year, according to a 2012 report from McClatchy.

With 64 percent of adult men, 82 percent of adult women, and 34.4 percent of children in Mexico considered overweight or obese, the nation has jumped up to fifth on the world list when it comes to obesity and obesity-related health conditions.

Obesity in Mexico: The price of convenience

When it comes to obesity in Mexico, most fingers point to the surge in sugary beverages and snacks, which have complicated an already sedentary lifestyle for many Mexicans.

People in Mexico spend approximately $14.3 billion annually on soft drinks alone, reports Smart Planet, and food stands, known as puestos, offer an unhealthy – but affordable – mixture of tamales, quesadillas and tacos accompanied by soda or juice. Because quality drinking water is scarce in many regions of Mexico, bottled sodas and juices are a far more common choice for people, even those dining at home.

On average, Mexicans consume 728 eight-ounce sugary drinks from Coca-Cola per person annually, an average of two a day, compared to 403 eight-ounce drinks per person in the United States.

The movement toward convenient foods is also apparent in the Mexican school system, where students are offered unhealthy snacks despite the prevalence of obesity and diabetes among young children.

To read the full article…..Click here

A ‘Losing’ Battle On Childhood Obesity?

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From Your Health Journal…..”I visit the Metro West Daily News on a regular basis, as it is one of those local papers that frequently has some great health stories. Please visit their web site (link below) to view many great articles, including the one being reviewed here today. Yesterday, I discussed how childhood obesity is declining in some demographics, but not a reason to jump for joy yet, as it is improvements in isolated areas of the United States. In today’s article, it asks a question I brought up yesterday about what caused some areas of the US to have a decline in childhood obesity – what EXACTLY did those areas do to have success. In the town of Northborough, they have had some success lowing the BMI scores of many students. A child’s BMI (Body Mass Index) is determined by age, gender, height and weight. An age and gender percentile categorizes children’s BMI as underweight, healthy, overweight or obese. This is a town trying to make a difference, and should be commended for their hard work helping children lead healthier lifestyles. To find out more about their success, please visit the Metro West Daily News site to read the complete article. Happy new year everyone!”

From the article…..

National efforts are being made to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity, but little data is available to guide towns on what works and what doesn’t.

Northborough, however, has become a regional model for fostering healthier generations, and now several cities and towns are following suit in hopes of achieving similar results.

Since its “Building A Healthier Northborough” initiative began in 2009, there has been a substantial decline in the town’s percentage of overweight and obese youths in grades one, four, seven and 10, according to body-mass-index (BMI) data submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).

A child’s BMI is determined by age, gender, height and weight. An age and gender percentile categorizes children’s BMI as underweight, healthy, overweight or obese.

BMI for age percentiles greater than or equal to the 85th percentile but less than the 95th percentile are considered overweight. When a child’s BMI for age percentile is equal to or greater than the 95th percentile, the child is considered obese.

Northborough saw a 20-percent decrease in the percentage of overweight and obese youths in surveyed grades between 2009 and 2011, according to the DPH’s 2011 report of the Status of Childhood Weight in Massachusetts.

Northborough Program Coordinator Tamara Calise, of the JSI Research and Training Institute, said a small work group comprised of members from a number of town departments made it possible to coordinate anti-obesity efforts.

The town planner created bylaws to promote more walking around Northborough and members of Youth and Family Services used their connections with the schools to move recess times and create guidelines that ask teachers not to give out candy as a reward or hold a child out of recess as punishment for bad behavior, Calise said.

Calise has now taken on the role of project coordinator for the MetroWest Moves partnership, which was started earlier this year and includes Framingham, Hudson and Marlborough. The latter two communities have some of the highest percentages of overweight and obese youth in the region.

To read the full article…..Click here